Product Simplification and Standardisation
Product Simplification and Standardisation: The technique of simplification and standardization of product is closely inter-related that leads to higher efficiency in production, better quality and reduced production cost. Simplification is a process of determining limited number of grades, types and sizes of a components or products or parts in order to achieve better quality control, minimize waste, simplify production and, thus, reduce cost of production. By eliminating unnecessary varieties, sizes and designs, simplification leads to manufacture identical components or products for interchangeability and maintenance purposes of assembly of parts. Standardization is the important step towards interchangeable manufacture, increased output and higher economy. The technique of standardization comprises of determining optimal manufacturing processes, identifying the best possible engineering material, and allied techniques for the manufacture of a product and adhering to them very strictly so long as the better standards for all these are not identified. Thus definite standards are set up for a specified product with respect to its quality, required equipment, machinery, labor, material, process of manufacture and the cost of production. The identified standard with time for a specified product should never be taken as final for ever because improvement is always possible. It must accommodate the outcome of all the new researches in the manufacturing areas in order to keep pace with increasing global competition. Improvements over the existing standards in all respects should always be welcomed. The different standards prevailing in different industries may be of the types of managerial, design, manufacturing and technical needs. Managerial standards are applicable to administrative functions within industry. These include the company policy, accounting procedures, personnel policies, performance evaluation, control of expenditures, safety aspects, security procedures and regulations, etc. where as design, manufacturing and technical standards are needed for manufacturing concepts of the industry. These include design and manufacturing techniques, practices, materials and parts, supplies, methods of testing, drafting method, abbreviations and symbols, specifications and nomenclature, etc.
INSPECTION AND QUALITY CONTROL: A product is manufactured to perform desired functions. It must have a specified dimension such as length, width, height, diameter and surface smoothness to perform or accomplish its intended function. It means that each product requires a defined size, shape and other characteristics as per the design specifications. For manufacturing the product to the specified size, the dimensions should be measured and checked during and after the manufacturing process. It involves measuring the size, smoothness and other features, in addition to their checking. These activities are called measurement and inspection respectively.
In the era of globalization, every industry must pay sufficient attention towards maintaining quality because it is another important requirement or function of a production unit. If a manufacturing concern wants to survive for longer time and to maintain its reputation among the users, it should under all condition apply enough efforts not only to keep up the standard of quality of its products once established but to improve upon the same from time to time. For this, every manufacturing concern must maintain a full-fledged inspection and quality control department which inspects the product at different stages of its production. Vigilant inspection of raw materials and products depends upon the entire process of standardization.
MECHANIZATION AND AUTOMATION: Mechanization means something is done or operated by machinery and not by hand. Mechanization of the manufacturing means is milestone oriented trend towards minimizing the human efforts to the extent of its possibility, by adopting mechanical and electrical means or methods for automating the different manufacturing processes. Such a trend may be in the area of automating and mechanizing the processes of material handling, loading and unloading of components, actual operations performed on the job or transportation, etc. But, no feedback is provided by the process, operation or machinery. Extension of mechanization of the production process is termed as automation and it is controlled by a closed loop system in which feedback is provided by the sensors. It controls the operations of different machines automatically. The automatic control may be applied for some operations or for all the operations of a machine or group of machines. Accordingly the machine will be known as semi-automatic or fully automatic. The term was identified shortly after the World War II at the Ford Motor Company to describe the automatic handling of materials and parts between the process operations. The word ‘automation’ is derived from the Greek word automatos meaning self-acting. Automation can also be defined as the process of following a predetermined sequence of operations with little or no human intervention, using specialized equipment and devices that perform and control the manufacturing process. Automation is a word that has many meanings in the industry today. Automatic machines of all kinds existed long before the term automation was conceived. But, it should be noted that all automatic machines do not come under the category of automation. Automation is a technology concerned with the application mechanical, electronic, and computer based systems to operate and control production. Every machine should involve some automation, may be to a lesser degree or to a higher extent to which is mainly governed by economic considerations. Automation means a system in which many or all of the processes in the production, movement, and inspection of parts and material are performed under control by the self-operating devices called controllers. This implies that the essential elements of automation comprise of mechanization, sensing, feedback, and control devices. The reasons why one should go for automation are:
- Increased productivity
- Reduced cost of labor and dependence on labor shortages
- Improved quality
- Reduced in-process inventory
- Reduced manufacturing time
- Reduced dependence on operator skills
- Increased safety or reduced risk of humans.
Automation can be classified into three categories, viz.
- Fixed automation
- Programmable automation
- Flexible automation.
Fixed Automation: It is also known as hard automation which is utilized to produce a standardized product such as gears, nuts and bolts, etc. Even though the operating conditions can be changed, fixed automation is used for very large quantity production of one or few marginally different components. Highly specialized tools, devices, equipment, special purpose machine tools, are utilized to produce a product or a component of a product very efficiently and at high production rates with as low unit costs as possible relative to other alternative methods of manufacturing.
Programmable Automation: In programmable automation, one can change the design of the product or even change the product by changing the program. Such technique is highly useful for the low quantity production of large number of different components. The equipments used for the manufacturing are designed to be flexible or programmable. The production normally carried out in batches.
Flexible Automation: There is a third category possible between fixed automation and programmable automation that is called flexible automation using Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) activities. This is also called as flexible manufacturing system (FMS).